The San Francisco Giants squandered an opportunity in the first inning against the Miami Marlins. After Austin Slater drew a leadoff walk, he stole second (easily). One Mike Yastrzemski strikeout later, and Slater stole third (easily). Runner on third, less than two outs? Easy run.
Except no. Nothing came of it.
So they tried harder in the second inning. A Wilmer Flores walk, followed by a Tommy La Stella single, put runners at the corners with no outs. Following a Curt Casali strikeout, Mauricio Dubón laid down a perfect base-hit bunt to score a run, and suddenly the Giants led 1-0.
But with runners at second and third (thanks to a wild pitch) with one out, and the pitcher coming up to bat, it started to feel like they would emerge from two prime opportunities with only one run.
Logan Webb felt differently. And Triple’s Alley was open for business.
It was the first triple by a Giants pitcher since Tim Lincecum in 2013. It scored two runs, gave the Giants a 3-0 lead, and made you smile. Don’t try and tell me otherwise. And do not send visual evidence to make your case.
With a lead firmly in hand, Webb buckled up and went to work on the other side of things. The dominant pitcher that we all watched in Spring Training had been absent through three starts, but clearly found his way to the Oracle Park parking garage on Sunday.
Webb put it on cruise control through 6 innings, allowing 2 hits, 3 walks, and 0 runs, while striking out 8 and rarely looking in trouble. And he was rewarded with the opportunity pitch the seventh.
That’s where the trouble began. Webb allowed a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson, who moved to second on an Adam Duvall groundout. Then Webb hit Jon Berti with a pitch, and suddenly there were two on and just one out. It felt clear that Webb would be taken out of the game.
But the man who jogged to the mound to meet him was not manager Gabe Kapler, but rather pitching coach Andrew Bailey. After a long discussion, Webb stayed in the game.
It didn’t feel like the best decision for winning the game, and that opinion was validated when Webb fell behind in the count 3-0 to Chad Wallach.
But it did feel like the best decision for Webb’s development and confidence. He put two runs on the board with his bat, and took them to the seventh inning with a shutout — rewarding him for that was justifiable.
And it was even more justifiable when he bit down on his mouthpiece and worked an inning-ending double play, which was turned beautifully by La Stella and Dubón.
7 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts, and 2 RBI. We all miss Madison Bumgarner — who threw a seven-inning no-hitter on the same day — but it sure was nice to see a Giant do his best MadBum impression.
The bullpen didn’t follow in his footsteps, and the Giants needed their three-run second inning — as well as the insurance run added in the fifth, when Mike Yastrzemski doubled and was later knocked in on a Brandon Belt sacrifice fly.
Matt Wisler pitched the eighth inning, and allowed a two-run homer by Jesús Aguilar. It’s not quite time to panic on Wisler but ... it hasn’t been good. But that’s what four-run leads are for.
Tyler Rogers pitched the ninth, giving Jake McGee a day off. It did not go particularly well, as he gave up a run and allowed runners at the corners. But he got out of it, and that’s all that matters.
Giants win 4-3.
It’s a four-game series win. It’s a 14-8 record. It’s a ... good baseball team?